How to End the Power Struggle
Power struggle: That feeling when you can’t seem to get your young ones to cooperate with you. First of all you are the Mother/Father in this relationship. And you weigh over 100 pounds more and was once a child yourself. With that being our premise, lets look at the different ways in which this is happening and at what age? Also if we are re-acting or responding to our children’s behaviors.
Okay before we began lets look at the difference between when we are re-acting and when we are responding to our children.
Now a ccording to MerriamWebster dictionary reacting is an action or attitude that shows disagreement with or disapproval of someone or something.
And responding is to have a good or desired reaction to something, to say or write something as an answer to a question or a request.
Equally important the Medical Dictionary definition of ADHD is a childhood mental disorder with onset occurring before 7 years of age. The symptoms are involving impaired or diminished attention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity. Also called hyperactive child syndrome in the twentieth century.
Likewise according to the Medical Dictionary Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) is characterized by a short attention span, impulsivity, and in some cases hyperactivity. As a matter of fact Dr Artem Agafonov from Steady Health on Mental Disorders reports that a Pseudobulbar affect disorder can cause uncontrollable laughter or tears without warning lasting for up to several minutes several times a day.
Now I added the last two additional definitions not to down play those whom are diagnosed with ADD and ADHD. But to make a point that no one is “normal” there is a condition for everything! To say nothing of letting someone label your child with a condition even the diagnosing doctor doesn’t really know nor understand. So lets see what’s really going on with the power struggle between you and your child.
So you have a toddler, a pre-schooler that throws tantrums at home and in public. Not to mention your grade schooler and teenager that doesn’t think you know whats best for him/her right? They seem to be uncontrollable, and you just sigh, not knowing what to do. You’ve been asking your teen to do their part of chores around the house. Coupled with your middle schooler hanging out after school with those friends you don’t like. And worse your teen is mouthing back at you with no respect nor regards to the younger siblings.
You feel like you’re in a power struggle with your children with no way to make it better. Or at least get a handle on the situation so you can relax a little.
In speaking of toddlers, which can be a handful, they are constantly on the move being scientist, explorers, and examiners. This interest in everything keeps them very busy and preoccupied with the smallest of objects. Together with an understanding of this will go along way in you having much patience with your little one. And you will be able to relax and pay close attention. Once you relax knowing this is normal for most toddlers, you now put your self back in control of your house and the situation.
What I’m finding is those mothers/fathers that feed there child/children a lot of candy, or processed sugar tend to have this issue. Because the child is more hyper than usual. I thought about this when people would ask me how I got my toddler, and young children to behave so well, to be still and come to me when I call him/her . So I started looking at what I fed them on a daily basis. And then I began to ask the parents what they feed their children. In light of this comparison I noticed that in 9 out of 10 it was a lot of processed foods, white sugar and some form of candy. Correspondingly according to Dr Sears a leading expert on children’s health, states that sugar sours behavior, attention, and learning. Likewise a study comparing the sugar response in children and adults showed that the adrenaline levels in children remained ten times higher than normal for up to five hours after a test dose of sugar! Also A study conducted at Yale University indicates that high-sugar diets may increase inattention in some ADHD children. If you go along with your child having this condition, then experiment with their sugar intake and test other natural sugar choices. Here is more information from the journal of pediatric.
So you say Victoria we eat very healthy in our home. And we use other more natural sugar alternatives. However my children still won’t listen to me. I’m glad you asked because in my years of helping parents, I’ve observed most mothers do a lot of yelling at their child. Comparatively fathers don’t resort to yelling as much as mothers. In doing so the child literally tunes them out, lol. So if you’re doing this, I suggest you look at what’s happening with your child. Think about it, you’re yelling and they are going on as if they don’t hear you at all, right? So simply stop yelling. Why? So they can hear you.
In addition between the ages of 2-5 they are learning and exerting their independence. For instance no I want to do it this way, taking things from their siblings and asking for something back. You should never think that these negative behaviors are cute, or dismiss them because other family members say its no big deal or laugh at the behavior. These are your children and should be following your standards and values.
Okay, so now we’re getting into directing their energy so you aren’t stressed out more than you are and they are not in a power struggle with you. First of all give them something you want them to have for their amusement, be involved when you can with that particular object. Pre-schoolers like to be busy doing something, its how they develop their learning skills, organizational skills and thinking skills. The busier you have them doing things the more they will listen to you. Moreover they will have the confidence in your judgement and in themselves. Also look at your patience level and be aware if you are re-acting or responding to them.
At this point you can be having very enlightening and interesting conversations with them. In which you should have started even while they were infants. They love when we talk with them and show interest in their endeavors around the house, lol. Likewise when you say come here, don’t let it be a scolding every time. By the same token let it be something good like a hug or you want to play with them or you’re leaving to go somewhere together.
Again when you tell your toddler to come here and they ignore you, don’t yell and don’t start counting. Go get him/her with firmness, and proceed with your reason for calling them. Then let him/her know when you call them, you expect them to come. And make sure they inner-stand this and stay firm but not cruel.
Tell them that when they want a hug, to come find you.
With teens, it can be challenging because for one, they are in an awkward state of still being a youngster as my uncle would say, and becoming an adult. Not to mention its awkward for parents too. Because we now must be able to discern this and give them some room to learn to trust their decisions, and have confidence in themselves. With that being said, what I have coached Single mothers and fathers on is to always be having family discussions. About what? Everything! As a matter of fact especially when raising your pre-teen.
Furthermore compliment them on a skill you recognize in them that will be advantageous for them in society. Talk about what type of home you desire for them and yourself. Now this should have been done while they were very young, yet its not too late. Draw the picture so they see themselves achieving the things they want and being able to do some of the things they want to do. Set clear boundaries on this and ask them questions as to what part of the household they want to cooperate in.
Children want to please and they want to know that their contributions make a difference. Remember to tell them so—and often.
Over time they will listen to you and be very cooperative at your amazement.
My six week course is designed to give parents the skills needed to have Respectful, Obedient, Cooperative children who listen to them. You can schedule your 45 minute session here.